Baidu, EMI Partner, Launch Music Service
A search engine will soon provide its users with free music, but before you get too excited, know that the tunes are mostly Chinese in origin. And even fans of Asian music shouldn’t get too worked up, because the initial offering will be a streaming service (as opposed to a download service). Nonetheless, any and all thanks should be directed to Baidu and EMI.
The two companies announced a “pioneering strategic partnership” earlier today in China. According to an official statement, the deal is “the first revenue-sharing arrangement between an internet search engine and international music company in the country.”
Baidu is, in case you didn’t know, the absolute king of search engines in its homeland. The China Internet Network Information put the company’s market share at 62.1%; it is effectively trouncing offerings from both Google and Yahoo. The American companies will likely fall even further behind as a result of the Baidu/EMI partnership.
Robin Li, Baidu’s chairman and CEO, simply stated (or understated), “We believe this co-operation between Baidu and EMI will create a meaningful ecosystem for value generating services for Baidu users, content providers and advertisers.”
He went on, however, to imply that the deal could have much larger ramifications. The partnership “has set the stage for win-win co-operation between the internet and music industries,” Li said. “It also sets the direction and a new model for future ongoing digital music business development in the internet era.”
And here’s one more tantalizing bit of information from the companies’ press release: “EMI and Baidu have also agreed to explore developing advertising-supported music download services.”